Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Math Technology

In Calculator Arms Race, Casio Fires Back: Color Touchscreen ClassPad 170

KermMartian writes "In what seems to be an accelerating arms race for graphing calculator supremacy between Texas Instruments and Casio, the underdog Casio has fired a return salvo to the recently-announced TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition. The new ClassPad fx-CP400 has a massive color touchscreen and a Matlab-esque CAS. Though not accepted on the SAT/ACT, will such a powerful device gain a strong following among engineers and professionals?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

In Calculator Arms Race, Casio Fires Back: Color Touchscreen ClassPad

Comments Filter:
  • MATLAB (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ipquickly ( 1562169 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @06:41AM (#42139921) Homepage

    Just stop playing around and get the real MATLAB on there.

    The only thing that will make me switch from my HP-48.

  • by Jojoba86 ( 1496883 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @06:41AM (#42139923)
    Welcome to 2012 graphical calculators, nice of you to finally join us!
  • by tstrunk ( 2562139 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @06:42AM (#42139929)

    Why does one need a graphing calculator?
    a) because it's actually required in an exam (didn't happen to me in my life).
    b) because it makes life easier during an exam.

    There's no math field work, where you need immediate mobility anymore. There's no need for a graphing calculator, which must not be used during exams.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kurast ( 1662819 )

      People only use these things for examinations. Nobody that I know uses these to do Real Work® . If you are in the field, you use a laptop with Matlab and/or Mathematica, and for surprise stuff, there are very good apps you can carry in your phone.

    • My father borrowed mine a couple of years ago, because he was doing a lot of work on paper and needed to solve equations but didn't want to have to keep switching to a computer. This is still a bit of a niche, because most people these days would do all of the drawing and mathematics on the computer, but he still preferred to do most of the algebra by hand. Aside from that, mine had been sitting on my shelf for five years, and is now probably sitting on his...
    • Graphing, no. Programmable however is something that I do use.

      I still use my HP48g from time to time. Mainly the mol weight application (periodic system).

      Similarly, I sometimes have to predict timelines in the field, and just ram the formulas in it.

    • >because it's actually required in an exam (didn't happen to me in my life).

      Imagine a civil engineer required to bring his own bridge to the test (or Caterpillar).

    • by IAN ( 30 )

      There's no math field work, where you need immediate mobility anymore. There's no need for a graphing calculator, which must not be used during exams.

      There still are niches where a powerful calculator is desirable for field work. Surveying is one -- search for "hp-50g surveying" to see for yourself. Yes, there are specialized data collectors, usually running WinCE (shudder), but a suitably outfitted HP-50g is a very worthwhile alternative.

    • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

      honestly the graphic ability is minor. it was the multiline scrollable display that was the useful part.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      They were useful learning tools before computers became cheap and ubiquitous.

    • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

      Indeed. This is in no way a competitive entry. If it isn't accepted at tests, it's useless.

      There is much better math software with proper pixel perfect mouse controls for laptops over smudgy semi-accurate touch to use at lessons. The only reason for calculator is tests.

    • Personally, I carry my TI-83+ with me everywhere. I don't even do that with my phone. The major major advantage to these things over a PDA or similar, is my TI calc will run on batteries so drained, they wouldn't work in a remote control. It does this without losing integrity.

      Now, as for uses, I do a bunch of statistical analysis, and it's nice to be able to pull out a programmable state machine from my pocket (waiting in a doctors office) and get my ideas actually moving
      • And you don't use an HP? Have you ever used a Casio?

        Personally I have an HP48 I keep on my electronics workbench for EE calculations, but I used a Casio in middle school. I did one year of middle school in the states and I never purchased the mandatory TI83. I swear the TI was artificially limited - my Casio could do a lot of things in one or two steps that would take 4+ steps on the TI and it was significantly faster than the TI when plotting. Not to mention the screen was nicer and it wasn't as ugly.

        The f

        • I use my TI because I always have, and I am comfortable with it. I tried an HP after graduating high school, but it felt as foreign as a Windows user trying to use a Mac. It may be better, but I had a tool that worked and I was intimately familiar with. TI-BASIC was/is much easier to write and read over RPL. An HP48 right now goes for 3x the price of a TI8x. Modern TI8x calcs have flash memory and can run machine language code, so there are alternate OS roms, language interpreters, etc. This is where you un
  • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elvum ( 9344 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @06:45AM (#42139949) Journal

    What do these devices have that couldn't be implemented as an app on a general purpose smartphone or tablet?

    • What do these devices have that couldn't be implemented as an app on a general purpose smartphone or tablet?

      I think the answer to that is: Absolutely Nothing.

      In fact - I'm sure a smartphone could run an emulator of the calculator and the emulated calculator software would still run faster.

      • Third world (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @06:53AM (#42139995)
        Long battery life and run on batteries you can buy from street vendors?

        An awful lot of people live in the 3rd world. Why does Blackberry still sell well in Nigeria? Long battery life and easily replaceable batteries, along with low use of wireless data. These things are still major issues for an awful lot of people. North Americans have to get over the idea that everything has to be useful to them to have a point.

        • by gtirloni ( 1531285 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @08:47AM (#42140501)
          Graphing calculators are so expensive and their price have been stable for so much time that some people are proposing they should be the new gold standard.
        • Anybody in the Third World who can afford this calculator is likely to spend the money first on a low-end Android phone. And yes plenty of these low-end smartphones come with easily replaceable gray market rechargeable batteries that you can buy in those same shops sharing bootleg DVDs and software, including phone apps.

          Inexpensive scientific caculcators have a place in the educational system. But if you're going to do hardcore math, a secondhand desktop or laptop loaded with either opensource or bootleg so

      • I have an HP-48G emulator on my phone and a physical HP-50 at my desk. (The '48 and '49 have died long ago.) I would much rather use the physical keyboard rather than touch screen when needing to do calculations-- one less thing to think about by not needing to look at the keys.

        The commonality is uncanny though-- I get home wondering why the result from something isn't in the stack on the phone.

        • Your '48 died? I have one that's 17 years old and still chugging. I may give it a proper funeral if it ever does die. How do you like the HP50?
    • Buttons. It's touchscreen, but still has buttons 0-9 and others you'd expect on a calculator.

      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        Tactile buttons make a world of difference.
        A typical error rate on touch screens is one in ten pushes. When doing text input it does not matter so much, because you both have predictive input and a backspace key.
        However, a calculator is unforgiving. If you hit a key that performs a function or starts manipulating the stack, backspace generally won't be of much help.

        Also, with a touchscreen app, you don't build up any tactile memory, but have to take your eyes away from the source of your input, even if it

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        If only more came with A to F as well.

      • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

        Buttons. It's touchscreen, but still has buttons 0-9 and others you'd expect on a calculator.

        I'll admit that real buttons are great for lots of data entry, but Casio or someone should just come out with a quality bluetooth keypad with a corresponding smartphone calculator app -- it seems pointless to build an affordable yet powerful big screen calculator that will sell in low volumes to compete with smartphones and tablets that sell many times more. Just concentrate on building a quality app, and a high quality keypad (like the old HP calculators, I still use my old HP-15C from time to time, it

    • If you really want, I am pretty sure you can run Matlab/Mathematica on a Windows 8 x86 tablet. (not that I am recommending Windows 8)

    • Re:No. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by marcovje ( 205102 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @07:33AM (#42140181)

      Do 1 year with a battery.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      A dedicated keyboard.

    • What do these devices have that couldn't be implemented as an app on a general purpose smartphone or tablet?

      Aside from non-technical advantages (e.g., being allowed to use particular ones in exames), in general for graphing (and just plain scientific, engineering, or financial) calculators, a big plus is a physical keyboard optimized for the particular use. That's actually a weak point of this new Casio device (which seems to have very few keys other than the numeric keys), so I doubt it will catch on, bu

  • There is still people using desk calculator!
    • Of course there are. They're faster to get certain things done. It's like being surprised that there are applications like Irfanview or Textpad when Photoshop and Word exist.

      I have a 48GX, which has several custom written solvers that are core to my work. I also have a Calculated Industries Construction Master. There are very few applications which readily perform functions on feet/inches/fractions as quickly and easily as the CM. (though, I'll admit that if I didn't already own one, I'd probably have bough

      • I'm not against that. Just surprised!
        Of course I bet those devices are banned from math exams and the likes ...
  • by runeghost ( 2509522 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @06:47AM (#42139959)

    I'm still confused as to why I'd ever want to replace my HP 48GX.

  • by kuiken ( 115647 )

    Do these support RPN, I am still using my old HP 32SII and while I have been looking for an upgrade no RPN is a deal breaker.
    I just can not get used anymore to a 'normal' calculator

    • AFAIK it's just the HPs that have RPN. No other calculator I've seen has it. I have an HP 49 which I'm quite happy with, though I seldom use it these days, unless I don't feel like switching my computer on for a few quick calculations.
      • A bit off topic, but why do you have your computer off at all? I mean I can see using a calculator in some situations, but I am a little surprised people still turn their computers off.

        • TBH, I don't like having a computer on. I sit in front of a computer all day at work, so at home I like to have it off as much as possible. I have an SSD so it boots quickly enough, which makes only turning it on when I need it quite a viable option.
      • AFAIK it's just the HPs that have RPN.

        I believe that some Soviet calculators used them, but still, even today, there are some Swiss-built RPN calculators [], reminiscent of the HP-1x line.

    • by dj245 ( 732906 )
      I have the 49g, the 35s, and the 33s. I used the 49g in college and bought both the 35s and 33s for the Professional Engineering (PE) exam.

      The 49g is a fairly nice calculator, but it is so big that I rarely use it. Having multiple lines helps keep track of very lengthy RPN calculations. The 33s I could probably do without- it is obviously build to lower build quality standards than the 35s and is slightly more difficult to use. I only got it as a backup in the unlikely event my 35s died during the PE
      • Just please, whatever, you do, don't get the HP 30s. It was the only allowed calculator the first two years I was at university, and it is complete shit. The worst thing about it is that 5% of the times you press the Left button, it thinks you pressed Up instead, and promptly erases the entire line you were typing. Without being able to recover it. Seriously, some students physically disabled the Up button as soon as they bought one.
  • A proper tablet with Octave or SciLab would be much better and probably cheaper too.
  • It looks weird. Like a 2000ish color Palm with a PhoneKB attached. This device probably won't take the lead because it doesn't have enough of those flashy elaborated calculator buttons.
    Seriously, the HP50G or simular devices simply looks cooler and has a more sturdy 'professional-looking' engineering-feel finish. That's my theory anyway.

    But, as for smaller non-graphing calculators in general though, I have to say that Casio beats TI and the others hands down. I just bought the Casio FX86 DE Plus (it's the m

  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @07:23AM (#42140135) Homepage

    ...trying to outcompete each other without noticing that a 3rd party has created internal combustion engine.

  • The new ClassPad fx-CP400 has a massive color touchscreen ...

    Define "Massive."

  • I want HP to reissue the HP-16C Most of us real programmers could use a proper multi number base calculator that is designed for CS and Digital EE.

  • by Lord Lode ( 1290856 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @07:57AM (#42140289)

    The thing that defines a calculator useful, imho, is that you don't really need to care about its battery life and it starts up fast.

    If you want something with a color touch screen, can't you just install a calculator app on your phone? What's the difference? Why do you need a specialized device for that?

  • The drama in the summary is just too much. This is more like a fight with toothpicks. Not a lot of people use these things.

  • Seriously, I think there may be a higher number of HP48gx users here than anywhere else. And we honestly can't see why you would need or want anything else. Naturally, that's because you probably don't need anything else. At least, not in a calculator.

    Of course, I wonder what happens with the move towards mainstream W8 (i.e. x86) tablets, when you really will be able to get [insert favorite full featured math program here] on a 10" tablet that's 1/4" thick, runs 10 hours on a charge, and also runs everythin

    • by xtal ( 49134 )

      My Hp48 celebrates it's 20th anniversary next year.

      I look forward to using it on it's 30th and 40th. It's the keyboard. I'd be all over a new one if it was built the same.. but.. it's not.

      Don't need fancy graphics to run the stack. :)

  • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @09:01AM (#42140553) Homepage


    Where are the great programmer's calculators? My HP-16C allows me to work through essentially all the arithmetic binary operations (in decimal, hex & binary) and has been invaluable as a debug tool when the numbers just don't seem to be right.

    Along with that are great feeling of keys (I hate my daughter's TI-83+ mushy keys) and nice solid plastic body. Oh, did I mention it takes 3x LR44 batteries that last 8+ YEARS?

    In other news, kids have been told to get off my lawn, but the quality of my code has never been better,


    • The 16C is indeed superb for embedded system work, and I keep one in my work bag for all the same reasons you do. Unfortunately, the lack of trig and other scientific functions prevents it from completely replacing the much bulkier 48S I also keep at my desk. Actually, these days I use a 48GX emulator on my iPad and iPhone more than anything else.
  • The true love of my life, was my Voyage 200 , she was there for me on the hard times, had an affair with the first color casio, but it felt wrong.

  • Coincidentally, I just spent a long time yesterday looking for a small (=pocketable) programmable calculator versatile enough to be used for simple general purpose 'applications', and found the Casio FX-9860g Slim []. It would be perfect for me, but unfortunately is sold out about everywhere in the world. :(

    I know there are plenty of older retro machines like that on Ebay, but these are from the 80s and I'd like to have something more recent and faster.

    Does anyone know a similar device?

    I'm also looking for pro

  • For the past year or two, I really haven't seen anyone use a calculator that wasn't on their phone. Most people don't even wear watches anymore, 'cause their phone shows the time. Until now, I had no clue that any companies were still doing serious business of calculators. I think they've seen their time, and fewer will be sold. I'm sure watch makers see their time is coming too. They may sell, but I can't think that it'll be a large market, or even half the market it was 5-10 years ago.
  • Matlab-esque CAS.

    Matlab is a Numerical Computation System, not a Computer Algebra System

  • submitter asks "Though not accepted on the SAT/ACT, will such a powerful device gain a strong following among engineers and professionals?" If /not accepted/ is because it gets wrong answers;) then yes, but if not accepted because it makes it too easy to get answers then, hell yes, it gets a following. There could be other considerations such as price I suppose
  • On Android, for example, and for free, there's Mathmatiz and Addi, both of which have a semi-matlabish language. even better, someone has compiled R for Android.
    So, other than meeting the bloody SAT rules, why bother with a calculator when a tablet or "smartphone" (aka small tablet with a cellphone chip in it) will do a hell of a lot more?

    • by ThorGod ( 456163 )

      It's been a while, but I don't remember Matlab nor R being all that useful for symbolic math (meaning indefinite integrals, for instance).

      R's kind of a bad replacement since if you're using R then you're likely not as under the gun as if you wanted to use a calculator.

  • by stonecypher ( 118140 ) <stonecypher@gma i l . c om> on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:45PM (#42146177) Homepage Journal

    Why would anyone buy a graphing calculator when a tablet is 1/3 the price for so much more hardware, and can have some equivalent calculator software installed for a dollar or two?

    This is a market propped up by the expectations of out of date teachers. These devices have no natural sales anymore.

  • Seriously? I didn't even have my TI-92 until my second semester of college. You think I bought it with any consideration of the SATs?

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A giant panda bear is really a member of the racoon family.